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Free Pilates class in support of Aware

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Jaconel Janssen of Pilates People Cork is organising a free Pilates class on Saturday 25 January in Yogazone in Carrigaline in order to raise funds for Aware. All monies raised by the event will go directly towards the maintenance and development of Aware’s services.

January can be tough for most of us. Christmas is over, the New Year has started, the days are dark, Spring still some time away. Exercise and spending time outdoors can help if you are feeling a little low. Simple things such as going for a short walk each day or simply sitting in the park can make a difference, as well as having a balanced diet and getting enough rest. A movement, stretch and relaxation class can bring great benefits too.

There is a difference between depression with a little ‘d’ – which we all get – and depression with a big ‘D’. Depression with a little ‘d’ is a natural response to having a bad day or hearing sad news. Depression with a big ‘D’ is when your whole energy and concentration is down and you are struggling to focus. It is a mental health condition which affects a person’s thinking, energy, feelings and behaviour. It’s not just having a bad day. If you have symptoms of depression you may not want to talk about it. However, talking about how you feel to your GP or family is a positive first step in learning how to manage Depression.

Depression is a very common condition which affects more than 450,000 people in Ireland (one in ten) at any one time. Any of us, irrespective of age, gender or background, can be affected at some point in our life Aware provides information on depression for many people: these include individuals who are experiencing depression or related mood disorders; those who are concerned for a family member or friend; people who are seeking to learn more about the condition, and also those who may be wondering if depression could be a factor for them.

The free class is suitable for all. The session will start with a short relaxation, allowing the body to let go of tension. Then the focus will be on building core strength as well as flexibility, balance and co-ordination. The body is gently realigned and reshaped, the muscles rebalanced, so that the body can move more freely. After an hour participants can expect to feel taller, stronger and more relaxed.

For more information on Aware, visit www.aware.ie  

Free Pilates on Saturday 25 January in Yogazone Carrigaline 10.30-11.30am.
Booking essential, contact 085 1613 505.     

Keep your calm this Christmas 

Stretch, relax, Pilates - 2As the lights are switched on, and Christmas tunes are all around us, we are getting ready for this long awaited time. Time of celebration, time spent with family and time of rest. But for most of us, it can also be a time of stress, tension and anxiety. How can we keep our calm this Christmas?

Stress 
Not all stress is bad, it can motivate and help maintain focus and alertness. On the down side, stress may result in feeling overwhelmed or out of balance and can have numerous disruptive effects on the body and the mind. If you are seriously concerned about how stress is having a negative impact on your life, it is important to talk to your doctor. Healthy eating, getting enough sleep, breathing exercises, getting enough exercise including a mind-body exercise such as Pilates, can all be part of a stress management routine. If you can do with a little calm and clarity in your run-up to Christmas, here are a few ideas to help you along the way.  

Yogazone CarrigalineBreathe We often respond positively to breathing and muscle relaxation exercises. Many people are unaware that their breathing patterns are disrupted under stress, by either holding their breath, or breathing quickly and shallowly from the upper chest when anxious.
  • Tip: Put one hand on your abdomen and the other hand on your upper chest. If you are taking a proper, full breath, the hand on your abdomen should move out when inhaling. While exhaling, the hand on your chest should stay relatively still. Try concentrating on your breathing several times a day, thus introducing small relaxing breaks into your life.

Relax Progressive muscle relaxation, a technique developed in the 1920’s, involves tensing and relaxing of key muscle groups. Since muscle tension accompanies anxiety, learning to relax the muscle tension may reduce anxiety.
  • Tip: Sit or lie in a comfortable position. With your eyes closed, tense the muscles in your legs for 10 seconds, then release the tension for 20 seconds, noticing the difference between tense and relaxed muscles. Don’t forget to breathe. Try this with other muscle groups, such as in the abdomen, arms and face. The technique becomes more effective with practice, so try and find time to regularly practice.

Stretch Stretching has a positive effect on our physical and mental health. It promotes mind-body awareness, improves circulation and decreases muscle tension. Take pets as a great example, they will not get moving without a big stretch first! Take time out to stretch your muscles when you feel the tension rising. Breathing  fully and from the abdomen while stretching, will help you maximize each stretch.
  • Tip: Stand with your weight evenly balanced over both feet, knees soft. Interlace your fingers above your head and with your palms facing upwards, push your arms slightly back and up. Feel the stretch in your arms, shoulders and upper back. Hold for 15 seconds, not holding your breath.

It serves us well to learn how to effectively manage stress, as doing so greatly improves our overall wellness. Try and keep things simple. Christmas will be just as enjoyable without everything being perfect. Try to accept that you can’t control it all. Ask others for help. Make time for activities and people you enjoy. Make choices that reduce your stress and support your well-being.

Relaxation, stretching, mindful movement workshop on
Saturday 14 December 1-2.30pm in Yogazone Carrigaline, €15.
Info: pilatespeoplecork.com or contact Jaconel 085 1613 505.

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